The Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) recently confirmed that certain business models used by retailers of refined products (eg, diesel and gasoline) are valid and stimulate competition in the market to the benefit of customers.

Following such confirmation (published on 18 December 2018), retailers can develop loyalty programmes based on bonuses, credits, subscriptions, memberships or exclusive offers, among other things, to be offered by various petrol stations. However, these programmes must be made available to all customers and cannot be discriminatory.

The CRE has determined that the implementation of these programmes by retailers:

  • is not prohibited by regulation;
  • does not entail, by itself, a discriminatory practice to the extent that the programmes are offered to the general public;
  • will incentivise competition;
  • will not contradict the regulations governing petroleum product retail activities; and
  • will be disregarded in cases of emergency, as declared by the competent authorities.

The CRE's confirmation that these programmes are valid will:

  • guarantee an open market by giving retailers sufficient freedom to offer products and services under commercial and marketing practices intended to attract clients; and
  • protect customers' interests by creating competition that may result in better services and prices.

This development is a consequence of the market's evolution. However, the CRE has determined that the validity of such programmes will be subject to periodic review in order to consider future market conditions and changes to logistics chains. Further, retailers will continue to be bound by the general obligation to provide homogenous, general, regular, secure and uniform services on a non-discriminatory basis.

The CRE has issued several guidelines and administrative provisions applicable to both Pemex (the state-owned oil company) and private gasoline and diesel retailers (eg, with regard to reporting obligations, price publicity and product quality) which are intended to promote an efficient and competitive market and protect customers.

This development is yet another benefit of the 2013 energy reform, which opened the retail market to private companies. This has resulted in a variety of offers for customers who, until recently, could purchase gasoline only from Pemex stations.

For further information on this topic please contact Carlos Ramos Miranda or Perla Gizeh Díaz Taracena at Hogan Lovells BSTL SC by telephone (+52 55 5091 0172) or email (carlos.ramos@hoganlovells.com or perla.diaztaracena@hoganlovells.com). The Hogan Lovells BSTL SC website can be accessed at www.hoganlovells.com.

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